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January 21, 2009

History of Nokia part 3: Grand Valse

GLOBAL – The third best known musical trademark in the world is the Nokia Tune, just behind “Intel Inside” and the Harley Davidson engine sound. Sure, I knew it was popular, but I didn’t realise it was that popular. The Nokia Tune is taken from a composition called “Grand Vals” which itself was compose by Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) from Spain. There’s a melody line which is repeated throughout the song, the end of which now forms the basis of the Nokia Tune.

I’ve listened to a bunch of modern, non guitar, versions of Grand Valse and I must say, struggle to find the bit where the Nokia tune comes from – but then, I don’t have what you might call a musical ear.

The original song is over 14 minutes long and was first composed for guitar. The song is in the public domain and the extract used by Nokia is also a registered musical trademark in various countries.

It was the early 1990s when the Nokia Tune was first aired in TV ads and it wasn’t until 1994 with the launch of the 2110 that the Tune appeared as a ringtone on a device. Ever since it has been the default melody on hundreds of millions of Nokia handsets.

Recently, with the launch of the E71, I’ve been treating myself to what for me has become the “new” Nokia Tune. I like it, but there’s something about the bit from Grand Vals that will somehow, for some reason, be with me for ever. Engraved in the brain? Perhaps. What about you?